The Tiger's Eye: What football is supposed to be.

08 October 2006

What football is supposed to be.

Yesterday I got the chance to make an old guy feel young again. A very good professional friend emailed me a few months ago and asked if I was a fan of Notre Dame Football. Even though I did not attend the school I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the Golden Dome. "Of course!" I said, "Does the Pope Sh!t in the woods? Is a bear Catholic?" His next email said he had two tickets for me and a guest to the Stanford game. I immediately thought of my father. He grew up on stories of George Gipp, The Four Horsemen and Knute Rockne while listening to Notre Dame Football on the radio in his small central Indiana town. Attending Notre Dame was out of the question but dad always dreamed of seeing at least one game there. When I called him early in September to ask if he would be free, he immediately said “Of Course! Does the Pope Sh!t in the woods? Is a bear Catholic?” (The nut didn’t fall far from the tree). We left Indy yesterday at 9:45 am in the company of my friend and another business acquaintance, traveled up US 31 to the Joyce South Lot. We tailgated from the back of his Suburban, drank some brewskies, ate some perogies, we watched as the band marched to the stadium and then we headed to our seats in the south end of that famed stadium. If you ever have a chance to attend you should make every effort to do so. This is what College Football is all about. From the moment the oldest college marching band assembled in the tunnel and was led high-stepping onto the field by the leprechaun and the cheerleaders, to the fabled fight song and the singing of the alma mater; through game itself featuring a pretty good Notre Dame team manhandling a spirited but undermanned Stanford to the final whistle it was a fantastic afternoon. Then something magic happened. At many if not most college football games once the final whistle blows the band marches off the field and everybody leaves but not at here. The band marched back onto the field, dressed their lines facing the student section and proceeded to serenade the remaining faithful along with the team by playing the fight song again, another victory march, and the 1812 Overture (accompanied by the fans waving a “W” with both hands above their heads). They did an “about face” and serenaded the remaining Stanford fans with the Stanford fight song, another “about face” and played Notre Dame’s Alma Mater accompanied by nearly 50,000 students, alumni and fans who sang along. Then a smart “Right face” and they high-stepped off the field to the ND Victory March.

It was as Dad said, “A wonderful day. One he will remember the rest of his life”. It was so much fun to see him truly enjoy the day.

Thanks Lonnie.